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Lead curse tablets have been discovered before, but these golden versions are unique.
There was an ancient Roman prohibition against burying gold with the dead.
Along with the rhino, 9 kilograms (20 lb) of golden jewelry, beads, and other animal figures have been recovered.
Mapungubwe was the biggest kingdom in 13th-century sub-Saharan Africa.
Their aesthetic and building styles had already influenced the Mycenaeans. In 1998, archaeologists unearthed a mysterious cache of gold near Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva in Southern Siberia.
Now, experts agree that the Rhino of Mapungubwe was made locally in the precolonial period.
Given the value of this precious metal, these artifacts are almost always more than just art; they’re statements of power, faith, or cultural identity. In August 2016, archaeologists discovered golden curse tablets in eastern Serbia.
While some are written in Greek, others are written in an unknown language with indecipherable symbols. Experts believe the unique symbols were a secret code between the user and the demon.
For decades, the golden rhino was charged with political importance.
When the figurine was unearthed in 1932, white South Africans refused to admit that black Africans had created the rhino.